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The Naked Emperor

Download the book for free here.

Let me begin with the familiar fable of „The Emperor’s New Clothes.“ As the story goes, one day the emperor hired two weavers who promised him the finest and most regal suit of clothes. The fabric to be used was so exalted that it could not be seen by anyone who was either unfit for his position or was hopelessly stupid.

As soon as the emperor endorsed the project, the swindlers began their work. They set up a state-of-the-art workshop that appeared to be busy with activity. Of course, no one in the castle could see the fabric that the two were allegedly using, but no one said anything. It was not their place to do so, and no one wanted to admit to being stupid.

After making a show of working diligently and collecting their fat fee, the swindlers reported that the costume was finished. They pretended to dress the emperor, who then proudly marched in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk played along with the pretense, not wanting to appear stupid or unfit for their positions. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the advantages of keeping up the pretense, blurted out that the emperor was wearing nothing at all, and that he was naked.

There was a time when consumers – just like the townsfolk – could be fooled by such a scam. But today, no company can hide behind flashy advertising and marketing. Sooner or later – maybe not in a parade, but on social media, or simply friends or colleagues talking to each other – a person will point and say, „This is all fake!“

This new paradigm is slowly seeing the daylight, and nowhere in the world is it stronger than in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2007 the city’s business community had to face a new reality when all advertising in the public space was banned. As you will find out, this act of „creative destruction“ – a term coined by the australian economists Joseph Schumpeter in 1942 – pushed regional companies to rethink and innovate their marketing. In many ways, São Paulo represents the city of the future, and for us on the other side of the world it is a crystal ball in which we can look into the future and see what will soon become a reality for the rest of us.

I had to experience the miracle of São Paulo for myself. Working with companies for years and always being curious why some companies stand out of the crowd, São Paulo became a compelling opportunity I could not miss. Equipped only with my computer, an open mind, and a journalist contact, I boarded a plane for São Paulo.

I had no idea where this journey would take me, but I was eager to find out.

In the pages of this book, you can share what I experienced on my trip to the Southern Hemisphere. Together we will visit four fascinating people. I chose them wisely and with a strong intuition that they could each bring new understanding and new insights to the challenge of marketing, and together they would form what would hopefully become a beautiful picture of the future. The four people are a professor, an ad agency executive, a marketing director, and finally a man who had designed a groundbreaking campaign for one of the biggest banks in South America, a campaign that pointed the way towards a new approach to marketing one that aligns business with a progressive movement.

Connecting to Customers

In this book, we’ll explore how marketing has become freeform, digital, and collaborative. What was once easy to define – a TV ad buy, for example – has become multifaceted, more nuanced, and more connected to the lives of people.

In the new world of naked marketing, there’s no one- size-fits-all solution. But that’s OK. What we always need to remember is that at the end of the day, business is fundamentally human. Natural, human conversation is the true language of commerce, and corporations work best when the people on the „inside“ make a sincere connection with the people on the „outside.“

Evolving into naked marketing means going from organization to organism. The system is organic. Rather than to compete against one another, people are increasingly motivated to collaborate and to work toward collective goals. We embrace collaboration for new ideas and open forum conversations that spark more „human“ campaigns.

Because it’s not what you learned in business school, you may be puzzled as you read this. But as you will soon find out, this is not theory; it’s already a reality.

Naked Marketing celebrates and outlines the non-deceptive tactics used to engage modern consumers – tactics that modern consumers are beginning to expect. Today’s consumers will no longer allow big media, corporations, or any other seller to lie to them. In terms of products, they want to understand exactly what they are sold and they want the marketing message to be honest. Increasingly, consumers also want the corporation – global giant or neighbourhood storefront – to reflect and embody their values and ideals. This comes with an increased awareness of how companies conduct their business.

Consumers themselves are becoming more and more central to spreading the word about products. The word can be good, bad, or a combination of both. Consumers use the web to create links to content, and social media applications shared between friends.

Supercharged by the internet, the new digital forms of word-of-mouth are becoming increasingly powerful. Gone are the days of a company acting as the singular voice of its brand in the marketplace. In a world filled with social media, blogs, email, texting, and the capability for any individual to voice his or her opinion about any brand through the use of these tools, a naked approach to your marketing is both a reality and a requirement.

In the pages ahead, I’ll reveal how naked marketing can bring your organization into alignment with today’s powerful trends in customer engagement, and how this organic approach will lead to stronger growth and a healthier bottom line for your company.